Exhibition stories = Structure + Emotion + Attitude + Magic
My work as exhibition dramaturge is to compose the information units into comprehensible stories that also attract emotions. I develop the stories based on scientific research but understand myself first and foremost as communicator. Emotions are productive in order to motivate the museum visitors to engage with the topics. I try to use dramaturgic devices as consciously as possible in order to create specific effects. Do I intend to puzzle, surprise or unsettle the visitors? Do I want to overwhelm them or to make them laugh? This may sound manipulative, but: it is impossible not to produce any effects. If you don’t want to create them intentionally, you run the risk of producing disappointment and boredom. People want entertainment, and that is an important aspect for my work. To find out how to satisfy this need by telling certain exhibition stories, without simplifying, is a thrilling challenge. An exhibition that resembles a Hollywood film, a soap opera, a poem – why not? While doing this, it is important to explore the borders between facts and fiction carefully. Every exhibition narrative, as objective as it may seem, contains a forming und deforming of the content. It is the aim of my research to explore the creative potential comprised in that – and my passion.
Next time: Attitude!
Photograph from The New York Public Library
Billy Rose Theatre Division, The New York Public Library. Josie’s Legacy (cinema 1914) Retrieved from http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47df-02d4-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99